Let Go, Don’t Worry, Experience (Mary, pt 2)

It’s December 31st.

I’m in a good head space, sufficiently intoxicated, and happy to give you the final piece of my conversation with Mary here.

She’s a beautiful person.

I recorded an introduction, through which I experienced insights, thinking about a recent conversation with Jen.

Another beautiful person.

And the music between the intro and the podcast is, “I Smile” by Kirk Franklin.

Yet…another…beautiful person.

Lotta beauty in here.

I present to you, “Let Go, Don’t Worry, Experience (Mary, pt 2),” and wish you a little peace of mind, some financial breathing room, sufficient time with Netlfix, and all the love available to you in the new year.

Love yinz.

-G

Driven to Resolution (2017)

I recently reread and reposted my, “Driven to Resolution (2016)” offering. Being in an acutely fragile emotional state within a larger hyper-vigilant psychological conundrum post-election, I arrived at this conclusion:

Shit. I haven’t made any progress.

The resolution last year was to become more mindful as I simultaneously shifted my brain from a reflexively, well-practiced, ultimately self-injurious judgmental and righteous state.

(ha)

(haHA!)

(HAHAHAHA!!!)

Have you read my posts this year?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Particularly over the past several months?  No?  Well…if you had you’d well understand my reassertion:

Shit, I haven’t made any progress.

Well, not so fast…

Here I am, several days later, still hyper-vigilant but perhaps a tick or two less-so, and not at all emotionally fragile (…not at all? Who the fuck am I kidding. A self-hating tumble is always just around the corner…) I realize this:

Hey! You’ve made lots of progress. Snap out of it!

I’ve had many of you tell me, essentially, that.

Bruno Mars has been singing it to me since I purchased his new album, “Throw some perm on your attitude, ‘cause you gotta relax.”

(Woooo!)

First, self-acceptance.

Next, accurate self-perception.

So, I can honestly chill without the crushing fear of missing something important.

And…smile.

Like, really smile. You know the kind of smile that has nothing to do with your mouth? It’s an entire body experience that resonates and pours soothing self-made medicine all over your nervous system so you can experience the present moment completely.

That.

Is what I want.

To smile more.

To inhale life-sustaining air.

And exhale life-giving air.

And be present.

My resolution.

Be present.

I wish I had a futuristic, Black Mirror inspired implant that gave me accurate information regarding my present mindedness. Bio-feedback, it’s called. Bio-feedback is one of the best ways to change a seemingly impossible-to-change behavior. (But then, I think, every episode of Black Mirror ends up a colossal mind-fuck and do I really want bio-feedback re: my ADD/OCD/WTF brain?)

I do.

My wife recently sent me a message after I left a voicemail for her that started as a fairly mundane, “Hey howrya doin, I’m fine,” thing but ended up an unfinished ramble that I abandoned when I finally realized I was making zero logical sense but likely communicating, on some subconscious level, “Help me.”

She suggested the following:

  1. Insist on your gym time every day.
  2. Limit your social media time.
  3. Read some fiction.
  4. Drink lots of water and tea, a little less alcohol.
  5. Eat even more fruits and vegetables.
  6. Put your phone away in the evenings. Be present instead of worrying who liked what you had to say.
  7. Delve back into mindfulness meditation.
  8. Start reading articles on observing your thoughts and letting them go.
  9. Try purposefully to slow down.
  10. Your writing – perhaps start journaling instead of posting every day. Use it as a tool to understand yourself a bit more, as opposed to trying to craft something that also has a goal of social reinforcement and approval.

There was more, but it’s mine. It’s not for you.

I look at those ten points and I think, “Yeah, that’s a perfectly achievable and valid path.” To mindfulness and present-being.

So, I’ll give you this, but the rest is for me.

Except, this one additional paragraph, “This Trump stuff isn’t going anywhere. And if you want to be able to do positive things when situations occur that require it, you’re going to need to be in good health. I need you to be healthy. Maddy needs you to be healthy.”

I’ve had my guru all along, right under my roof.

Maybe my resolution should be even simpler.

Listen to your partner.

Happy New Year.

-G

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Mary, pt 1)

This is the penultimate podcast of 2016.

 

and

 

You can fuck right off, 2016.

Really.  If this year were the year when Dickens’ published “A Christmas Carol,” the ghost of Christmas’ present would look a hell of a lot more like the ghost of Christmas’ past in the actual book.

So fuck this year.  I will not look at the gravestone.  I will not brush the snow away to view the horrifying words etched by Trumpletongues and Trumpeters and Donald Trump and Vlad Putin and the opioid epidemic and cancer and all of the other shit that has me held together so thinly that I’d unravel like a cheaply made Cosby (…fuck that guy too…) sweater and crumble in a pile of liberal tears and useless stocking stuffers.

Oh…hey, we have Mary on this one.  Mary is awesome and she doesn’t deserve all of that anxiety and vitriol above.

Today we talk about Unitarianism, active listening, Christmas cookies, awesome neighbors, beautiful children, and the true spirit of this, and if we can get our shit together, all seasons.

Please listen.  Don’t let my intensity cause you to pause.  This is well worth your time.

Also, John Lennon and the vocal genius of Yoko Ono in, “Happy Christmas (War is Over),” and also Elton John with, “Yellow Brick Road.”

Those are beautiful tunes, and Mary is a beautiful human.

Love yinz!

-G

Love is an Inheritance, as is Hate.

Many people, perhaps you, believe me to be anti-white.

(To the white supremacist world, a person like me is an abomination.  Worse than being unfortunate enough to be born non-white.  Rather, born white and then actively working to dismantle white supremacy and shed the mantle of oppressor.  I’m the worst of the worst.  A traitor.)

But, I’m not.

I’m firmly anti-racism.

Firmly anti-antisemitic.

Firmly anti-misogyny.

Firmly anti-homophobia.

Firmly anti- hypocrisy

Firmly anti-classism.

Firmly anti-ableism.

Conversely, I’m doggedly pro-Truth.

One might justifiably retort, “Your truth.”

And mostly, one would be right.

But also…wrong.

Because facts are facts.  Contrary to current popular, populist, and preposterous beliefs in a world where nothing seems to be as it seems and everything has become debatable…facts remain facts.

Now, it’s true that I often get facts mixed up with my analysis and opinion.  (That thing against which I rail vehemently is the very thing I do.  Geez.  It sounds so damn trite.  But True.  I acknowledge this, and I’ll be actively working to spend more time honestly looking in the mirror, contemplating what I see, and making modifications where necessary, in the upcoming year.)

However, if recognizing the histories of the Black and Native experiences with European colonizers (i.e. our founding forefathers) in the United States is anti-white…and,

If acknowledging the lasting impact and current relevance of said histories is anti-white…

Then sure, I’m anti-white.

By that definition, but not my definition.

Anti white.  Pro Truth.

Po-TAY-toe. Po-CONFIRMATIONBIAS-toe.

My upbringing, travels, education, professional endeavors, and overall exposure have brought me lessons and given me glimpses into the experiences of oppressed and/or marginalized communities.

My personality is such that I feel, deeply, not only my feelings but the expressed feelings and oppressive experiences of others around me and many not anywhere near me.  I absorb the psychic energy of the relationships, behaviors, and art with which I come into contact.  I take shit personally.  I agonize and worry and lose sleep at night over so…fucking…much.

So indeed, I’ll always travel with another’s reality, at least in part, as my own.  For me, it’s impossible to walk the earth perfectly content when I know, I literally know, a Muslim woman, an American citizen, born and raised in NJ, is harassed daily through a relentless series of micro-aggressions and explicitly aggressive words.

When I literally see the way Black boys are treated in my neighborhood by older (my age and up) white male community leaders including coaches, cops, and “Christians.”

When I stare into the abyss of anonymous avatars and trolls and have to cleanse myself of the tsunami of pure, unfiltered hate and anger pouring out.  (Most recently, I’ve been following a journalist on Twitter who received an anonymous video with a seizure-inducing strobe.  The troll researched the journalist, found out he has epilepsy, and attacked in a very direct, malicious manner.  The journalist, in fact, had a seizure and now has decided to turn the journalistic heat down as he pursues both legal and law enforcement support.  However, trolls continue to send him embedded, hidden strobes.)

I’m not sure what I am.  What I’m not.

But I know this, I’ll not rest easily until I’m certain that I’ve done all that I can to promote social justice, reparations, and basic, foundational human love.  Active, works-based love.

-G

I Know More About You Than You Do About Politics. (RJ Again, pt 5)

Trigger Warning: You will hear the actual “N Word” in this podcast, and not just once…and never as a racial epithet or indicator of hate or white supremacy. It’s conversational, and it’s included because it needed to be there. If you can’t handle the word, then you might want to either skip this altogether or be prepared for some fast forwarding.

Have you ever felt afraid to vote, inadequate? Like you haven’t done your research as well as you know you should have but you feel an obligation to complete the one civic duty that is reportedly the foundation of our constitutional republic of sorts?

Yeah, me too.

And RJ.

I’m giving you Levon Helm today. The Band. First, “I Shall Be Released.” At the end, “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”

I really do wish you’d listen to this, but I understand if you choose otherwise.

Love yinz!

-G

Don’t Listen to David Duke

I swear to God, universe, or the gaping nihilistic void, that I might lose my mind.  The whole damn world might.  Actually, it seems quite like it has.

I wasted away again in Margaracistville (i.e. Trump Twitter [i.e. White Supremacist Twitter {i.e. the social media trash heap for all manner of racist, anti-semitic, hypoChristian, hyper-masculine, mean-spirited fuckery}]) for almost too much time and came out angrier and feeling like I lost a little piece of my humanity, but with this information. I swear to you. All of the pepes (…look it up, I don’t have time…) are hoarding around the following narrative: There is no “Russian hack.” Anything that has the words “Russia” or “Hack,” is “Fake News.” Anything. And, everything. In fact, nothing anyone in the media anywhere says is necessarily true.

(Now think about the mindfuck that is placing in the brains of less savvy, dogma-conditioned, and/or financially desperate Trumpletongues who just wanted the coal jobs back, or the steel mill to reopen, or social security to kick in a little more, or the VA to actually help with the pain, or whatever valid concern I’m neglecting…along with Trump. Which is the fucking point!)

I swear to you, they are flooding (…back me up, anybody who knows…) all of the popular social media sites (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, 4chan, WTFDidIStumbleUpon, etc.) with the following message: No news…is trustworthy news. They’re like a fucking annoying swarm of adrenaline junkies with relatively high IQs somehow emulating Gary Gnu.  (If there were a great space coaster, best believe I’d get on board.)

Go ahead, search the hashtags: FakeNews, RussiaHacking.  See who’s attached to them.  (hint: David Duke, Richard Spencer, and Alex Jones are among them.)

Ultimately, the message, when you combine ALL of the true Trumpletongues (…really, like death eaters from  the Harry Potter universe, but in our actual universe and not fictional [more fucktional]…the smartest, richest, most powerful Trumpeters…) along with Trump’s free (…and don’t think he doesn’t LOVE that fact…) and awesomely powerful Twitter account, and (Yes, Virginia, there exist facts) the fact that Russia has been kind of officially fucking around with our data and politicians for years, is this:

If it’s pro-Trump…it’s good news.

If it’s not pro-Trump, not even necessarily anti-Trump, or even meh-Trump, or satirical-Trump, nope, none of that shit will fly…if it’s not propagandishly, garishly, unabashedly, like almost North Korea level WTF level pro-Trump, it’s FAKE.

I welcome you to take that all in again.

Breath into a nice paper bag.

Find a drug that will numb you but not addict and destroy you.

And stay awake.

There really is work ahead.

Also, read the newest Kurt Eichenwald piece from Newsweek.

It’s news.  Real journalistic art, weaving an ironically obvious tapestry of Trumped-up #Fuckery.

#FightTheFuckery

-G

 

Why is Trump bad? (RJ Again, pt 4)

RJ and I recorded this podcast the day after the third presidential debates.

That’s all the pretext I’m giving you.

Oh, and RJ asked me the question, “Why is Trump bad?”

And I answered.

That’s this podcast.

Also, “Get it Together,” by the Beastie Boys, and “We the People,” by A Tribe Called Quest.

-G

P.S.  We’re both pretty fucking drunk by this point.

P.P.S.  Like, bottle of navy strength rum drunk.

Fuckface making one of his best fuckfaces.

Driven to Gratitude (2016)

As the earth completes another revolution around the sun according to the Christian calendar; the widely celebrated birth of white Jesus, coinciding with the day white Santa delivers toys to all the good, wealthy-enough,  largely fair-comlextioned Christian boys and girls, a few weeks away; the looming spirit of Corporatocracy-future vehemently pointing a skeletal finger at the snow-covered headstone announcing the death and burial of the North American experiment as conceived by white-wigged, white-faced, bespectacled, slave-owning men we deem “forefathers” approximately two-hundred years ago; I settle in to contemplate gratitude.

Please, don’t let the cavernous cynicism of the first paragraph sway, delay, or rain on your December parade.  It is a wonderful month, ending a wonderful season through which many spiritual and secular traditions celebrate.

And there is where I’ll place my initial gratitude.

I’m grateful for my parents, who always supported me in my cultural, spiritual, academic, and political pursuits.  Always.  Because they decided to allow me to spread my wings, find my way, and follow my whims and dreams, I’ve been exposed to all manner of diversity across my life.  Furthermore, I’ve carried with me a deep respect for humans, a quest for understanding and Truth, and confidence to engage in dialogue and relationship.  I am grateful for my parents, for my true friends, for those family members who built me up and allowed me to Become rather than tear me down in an attempt to desperately mold me to their illusionary values.

I’m grateful for my wife and my step-daughter, both of whom celebrate and check me, encourage and ground me, lift me up while not inflating me.  As many of you know, I often rage, judge, and spew vitriol all in the name of righteousness…thus undermining the very endeavor I intend to promote.  The women in my life don’t deal with that bullshit.  Ever…and for that I lay prostrate at their feet.  I’m not worthy.

I am grateful to my friend Michael for reminding me that every time I pick up the hot coals of hatred to throw at those I ignobly deem worthy of such violence, I only succeed in hurting myself…and often also harm others.

I’m grateful for all of the families and educators with whom I work and their seemingly inexhaustible wells of love, patience, and grace.  Mostly, I’m grateful for the children I serve.  Each day, regardless of my mood, emotional state, physical health, or mental stability, our children reflect Truth, still relatively immunized from the immeasurable familial, community, and societal rules and norms that will bury that pure Truth under largely impenetrable psychic layers of anxiety, self-doubt, jealousy, fear, compliance, and conformity.  Children alone help me to experience real, honest, godly peace and homeostasis.  I am grateful for the opportunity to perceive their Buddha nature, and thus my Buddha nature, daily.

I’m grateful that you’re willing to stick with me, even through periods of extreme anger and panic.  Communicating publicly, sharing my brain with you, processing the world through this literate artform…is therapy.  All art is therapy, I think.  Therapy on the most miniscule scale (i.e. one person) as well as the broadest conceivable (i.e. all people).  I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my art, which is just my manner of communicating the human condition as I’ve experienced it.

And finally, I’m grateful that the world is still full of people who care deeply about people; who are willing to defend, protect, and embrace people; who don’t seek accolades or acolytes but rather simply seek Truth; who create and build rather than destroy and demolish.

I’m grateful for you.

-G

The Philanthropy Incident (RJ Again, pt 3)

Today, RJ is totally quotable.

“You can’t explain this shit to people who don’t know.”

But right?!

That may be the most profound thing ever uttered on a Driven to Drink podcast.  Because you can’t, if they don’t.

“So much Montuno right now.”

We shift from Ringo Starr’s metric modulation to afro-cuban rhythms.

And then, at the very end, after all the music, I’ve tagged a gem for you.   I call it, “The Philanthropy Incident.”

Love yinz!

-G

P.S.  Music.  Up front, “Solamente las Claves,” by Conjuntos Cespedes.  Midway, “Fast as You Can,” by Fiona Apple.  Pre-philanthropy, “Song for the Dumped,” by Ben Folds Five.

P.P.S. If you don’t know…now you know.

and-if-you-dont-know-now-you-know-nigga_o_316491

Take the Counter-Intuitive Path

A racist adult who is the product of generational abuse understands the fundamental point People of Color (PoC) make about the systemic, lasting impact of the Black experience in the United States.

Furthermore, each of us is the product of some historic, familial, and/or generational mistake made by our caregivers and ancestors.  Just sit with that for a moment.  Think about some aspect of your behavior, personality, temper, communication style, or emotions that is NOT ideal for your happiness and which you inherited.  Trace it back, because it’s traceable.

So now I’ll repeat;

A racist adult who is the product of generational abuse understands the fundamental point PoC make about the systemic, lasting impact of the Black experience in the United States.

However:

S/he refuses to acknowledge or believe a general construct (i.e. psychic inheritance and the epigenetic impact of cross generational violence/abuse) applies specifically to things (e.g. Black Lives Matter) that don’t align with his/her world view, which, ironically, was shaped by the very same construct being vociferously denied for others.

You dig?

It’s impossible to think outside of your myopic experience without exposure to diversity (i.e. of people, places, and things) relatively devoid of preconception.

And:

It’s impossible to shed preconception entirely.

However:

It’s critical that we work to uncouple our preconceptions from our emotional and behavioral reactions to diversity.  If we don’t, we will always be responding to preconceptions rather than the person/people in front of us.

You dig?

Behind any experience or exposure that challenges your specific values or beliefs are more fundamental factors that will, I promise, help you to make sense of the differences.

This is how a child of alcoholism understands how codependency, mistrust, and inherited addiction personally emerge but refuses to accept that a child of generational, systemic oppression and poverty, by the very same mechanisms, will likely become more deeply entrenched in dependency, mistrust, and inherited victimization.

We must take the counter-intuitive path.  Approach discomfort. Embrace productive conflict. Dive into any novel social-emotional pool and tread water until you can swim.  Folks will be willing to teach you.

The mirror can be the scariest place.  All alone with nothing but you.

Stand there.

Contemplate what you see, think, feel.  No judgement.  Just contemplation.

Then walk out into the world.

Open.

-G

P.S. Please visit my Patreon page.  You can become a patron for as little as $1/month, and that actually makes a difference.  Really.  Perhaps you have a spare $5/month, and you love several writers, podcasters, artists, journalists, or awesome thinkers who have Patreons as well.  You can be a patron to 5 independent artists…and that, in our world, is a critical, radical, positive, loving, amazing, helpful, active thing.